The ancient paddlefish has returned to one of Texas’s most unique aquatic ecosystems.
State and federal wildlife officials have released approximately 50 paddlefish back into Caddo Lake, with the hopes that the species will help revitalize the ecosystem.
Paddlefish disappeared from Caddo Lake back in the 1950’s after the construction of the Land O’ the Pines Dam, according to the Associated Press.
The dam altered Caddo Lake’s spring water flows that paddlefish used as a signal to start spawning. When the water flows changed, the paddlefish died out and the lake’s ecosystem changed.
In an effort to revitalize the lake, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers are now releasing water from the dam in a way that more closely matches the natural flow of the watershed.
With the new waterflow conditions, paddlefish should be able repopulate the lake. Their survival will signal that the lake’s ecosystem is returning to normal.
Earlier this month Texas Parks and Wildlife released this video about the collaborate effort to reintroduce the ancient fish species to Lake Caddo. We thought you’d like to check it out.
A number of other states, including Missouri and Pennsylvania, have conducted similar paddlefish restoration projects.
The oldest paddlefish fossils date back 300 million years. They are illegal to catch in Texas, as they are considered a threatened species.
What do you think about the paddlefish restoration efforts in Lake Caddo? Share you thoughts in the comments section below.